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Economy in Brief

U.S. New Home Sales Gain in November, but from Revised Lower Levels
by Peter D'Antonio  December 23, 2019

Sales of new single-family homes increased 1.3% m/m (+16.9% y/y) in November to 719,000 units SAAR. However, the November gain comes from levels that were revised sharply lower in both September and October. September sales were revised from 738,000 to 730,000 and October sales were revised from 733,000 to 710,000. The Action Economics survey had expected sales of 735,000 in November. So, even though sales increased in November, the marked downward revisions meant that November sales were well below expectations.

Although interpretation of this month's reading has been influenced by the downward revisions, there is no mistaking the surge in new home sales over the past year.

The median price of a new home rose 4.4% m/m (+7.2% y/y) to $330,800 in November. The median price is still 3.8% below the record high of $343,400 in November 2017. The average price of a new home increased 2.7% m/m (+5.7% y/y) to $388,200.

Sales were mixed across the country last month. In November, sales fell in the South, were unchanged in the Midwest and rose significantly in the Northeast and West. Sales in the South fell 4.1% m/m to 400,000 (the second consecutive monthly decline), but were still 14.0% above yearend 2018. Sales in the Northeast nearly reversed October's decline, rising 52.4%. Sales in the West posted a solid 7.5% m/m rise to 216,000, the second consecutive large monthly gain.

The months' supply of homes on the market edged down to 5.4 months in November from 5.5 months in October, remaining well below the recent high of 7.4 months reached in December 2018. The median number of months a new home was on the market after its completion declined to 3.1 months in November, its lowest in a year.

The data in this report are available in Haver's USECON database. The consensus expectation figure from Action Economics is available in the AS1REPNA database.

U.S. New Single-Family Home Sales (SAAR, 000s) Nov Oct Sep Nov Y/Y % 2018 2017 2016
Total 719 710 730 16.9 615 617 562
  Northeast 32 21 35 6.7 32 40 32
  Midwest 71 71 70 -1.4 75 72 69
  South 400 417 441 9.0 348 341 318
  West  216 201 184 47.9 160 164 142
Median Price (NSA, $) 330,800 316,900 312,100 7.2 323,125 321,633 306,500
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